by Lynn on May 7, 2015

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Sidemart Theatrical Grocery at 1362 Queen Street east. Toronto, Ont.

Written by Dennis Potter
Directed by John Shooter
Set designed by Rachel Forbes
Lighting by Nelson Rogers
Sound by Tim Lindsay
Starring: Rod Ceballos
Scott Garland
Brigitte Robinson
Nicole Wilson.

Macabre, melodramatic and gripping.

Dennis Potter is a master of the macabre, the unsettling story, and that was never truer than in his 1976 play Brimstone and Treacle.

Patti Bates has been in a quadriplegic almost uncommunicative state since she was the victim of a hit and run two years ago. It’s left her totally helpless. She has to be fed, washed, dressed and given constant care. Her devoted mother Amy has taken on that task without complaint. She feels Patti will one day recover and that even now Amy sees signs of improvement. Her father Tom totally disagrees. He is ill-tempered, frustrated by his wife’s devotion to their daughter and impatient with the attention. One day Tom literally, bumps into a young man named Martin, who convinces him they know each other and that he is a former boyfriend of Patti’s. Martin enters their lives. He is helpful. Or is he? Kind hearted. Or is he? There is a whiff of sulphur about him. Who is he!?

The play is tricky. How do you balance the sickeningly sweet demeanour of Amy, her cheerfulness and her eagerness to believe Martin; and Martin’s emotional distance, his cloying and for us, his alarming sense of danger? Director John Shooter has directed this production so that he always has us guessing, unsettled and at the last stunning moment, sucking air at a stunning revelation. As Amy, Brigitte Robinson plays the too trusting woman, who is a bit silly and naïve and she does it with absolute truth and conviction.

Full review on Friday morning May 8, on CIUT FRIDAY MORNING 89.5 fm from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.

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